This past weekend, Feb. 20-21, the Air+Style World Tour made its final stop to the sunny city of Los Angeles. The second annual event brought 24 of the best snowboarders in the world to compete on one of the craziest structures I have ever seen. Standing at over 16-stories tall and dropping the riders over 100 feet, this jump is a sight to be seen. This year the event was moved from the Rose Bowl to the heart of downtown LA, EXPO Park having the LA Coliseum as a backdrop. With this type of set-up, the riders came ready to throw down. In the practice runs alone, double and triple-corks were being thrown around like the finals had already started. This made for a perfect start to the event while you posted up in the Pabst Beer garden where you could play cornhole and giant Jenga. The area doubled as an old school arcade, and my personal favorite, a U-Haul with a full instrument set-up allowing you to press your own vinyl.
Leading into the first round of qualifying were the sounds of pop-punk classic All Time Low who set the tone for an energy filled event. The main stage schedule was timed nicely with a round of snowboarding followed by the next up on the star-packed Mainstage. A-Trak didn’t disappoint by closing day into night with his signature scratching followed by the extremely talented ladies of HAIM and to close out the night was J. Cole. Day 1 of the Big Air competition saw the field of 24 athletes whittled down to just 16 riders for the next day’s head-to-head rounds. The energy of Day 2 took off right from where Day 1 had left off. The stacked lineup of both stages made it hard to choose between the 2 stages and the competition. I decided to start the day out at the 2nd stage for Travis Barker’s drum and DJ set where the Blink-182 drummer flawlessly displayed why he is one of the best drummers alive. Next up was Big Grams on the Main stage, which is the new union of Outkast’s Big Boi and the electronic sounds of Phantogram. If you ever get a chance to see these two together, I strongly urge you to do so. The chemistry between the three on stage is infectious and the best part of all, they truly are enjoying themselves up there and it shows. Kaskade showed once again why he is able to bring out record-breaking crowds with his smooth, emotional melodies mixed with an impressive special effects set-up. Incubus closed out the entire event giving the crowd exactly what they wanted by playing all the classics from Drive to Pardon Me to Warning. No Incubus fan could leave there feeling even remotely disappointed.
The Big Air head-to-head competition was just a smorgasbord of triples galore commentated by veteran rider Eddie Wall. All the riders were feeling the crowd by going as big as they possibly could, pushing themselves passed their known bag of tricks. Unfortunately with progression comes injuries. Mark McMorris was forced out of the competition after catching his front edge, throwing himself down the landing on a frontside 1440 triple cork, breaking his femur. In the end, 16 year-old Yuki Kadono (JPN) sealed the win with a massive frontside triple cork 1440 Mute, Kyle Mack (USA) came in second place with a frontside double cork 1440 Tail and Sven Thorgren (SWE) came in third place after nailing a backside 1440 Stalefish. With that third place showing, Sven Thorgren was crowned the overall Air+Style World Tour Champion.
Writer: Tyler Branning
Photographer: Matt More